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Uncle Al Warned Us; About the Greenhouse Effect
Topic Started: Mar 6 2017, 09:51 AM (30 Views)
Brewster
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Climate Progress
 
100 years ago, Alexander Graham Bell warned us about the ‘greenhouse effect’
Back in 1917, the inventor of the telephone foresaw a future where coal and oil were replaced by renewable fuels.

In a 1917 paper, Alexander Graham Bell wrote that the unrestricted burning of fossil fuels “would have a sort of greenhouse effect.” The man who invented the telephone four decades earlier added, “the net result is the greenhouse becomes a sort of hot-house.”

in a 1917 article for National Geographic Magazine, he urged the development of renewable ethanol fuel from agricultural waste, corn stalks, and saw-mill dust.” As one biographer wrote, Bell would “also explore ideas in energy conservation” and “solar heating.”

And all this time you thought the Chinese invented the greenhouse effect to beat us at manufacturing.

Bell didn’t coin the term “greenhouse effect.” That appears to have been the Irish physicist John Henry Poynting in 1909. And it was experiments in the 1850s by the English scientist John Tyndall that first explored the heat-trapping ability of what we today call greenhouse gases.

In 1896, the Nobel Prize-winning Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius, was the first to predict that human-caused carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels were able to warm the globe. He calculated that temperatures in the Arctic would soar “if the carbonic acid [CO2] increased 2.5 to 3 times its present value.”

The point is that a full century ago, the science behind the human-caused greenhouse effect was well understood — and a brilliant inventor like Bell could imagine a future based on renewable energy.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Bell himself was inspired to work on acoustics and hearing aids and ultimately invent the telephone because his mother was deaf, as was his wife. He understood a century ago that there was going to be a necessity to replace fossil fuels some day.

Clean energy will be a $50-trillion industry, but Trump policies mean the U.S. won’t benefit

we must start replacing climate-destroying fossil fuels with renewable sources as soon as possible. Fortunately, we have invented the key clean energy technologies we need to slash emissions.

Sadly, though, the new administration and congressional leaders are actually taking us into the distant past — by removing regulations on carbon pollution, restricting clean energy development, and boosting production of the dirtiest fuels. They are deaf to the necessity of urgent climate action.
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Yes, Alexander Graham Bell was a relative. (Several generations removed - I didn't get any of his money.)
But it was a pure accident that I ended up in the Telephone business.
Edited by Brewster, Mar 6 2017, 09:53 AM.
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